Quad Cities Bandits Notebook: 2012 Week 2

The Midwest League club had a very successful 5-2 road trip and ended the week tied for first place. Colin Walsh is among a group of River Bandits swinging especially hot bats.

After completing ten games at 6-4, the Quad Cities River Bandits are in a three-way tie for first place in the Western Division of the Midwest League. The other first-place teams are Kane County and Cedar Rapids. The Bandits are 1-2 at home and 5-2 on the road.

Castillo has reason to smile
Juan Castillo is leading the league in batting average at .520, his slugging percentage is .840 and his OPS is a mere 1.340. The catcher has played in seven games and made 25 plate appearances. Colin Walsh (.333) leads the team in home runs at three. The second baseman is slugging .778 and his OPS is 1.192. Matt Williams is also adding a powerful punch to the team with a BA of .324.

Logan Billbrough earned the first promotion of the year as he was moved to Palm Beach after three strong appearances on the mound. Kevin Jacob and Jeremy Patton joined the team from Extended Spring Training.

This was a week of road games with a three-game series in Peoria (Cubs) and a four-game stand in Cedar Rapids (Angels). Without a chance to see any of the games in person, this will be a quick recap of that happened.

Monday, April 9, QC 8 at Peoria 3

Sam Gaviglio made the start and gave up the only runs Peoria was allowed. The right-hander allowed a run in each of the first two innings and then held the Chiefs off the plate until the fifth inning when he allowed one more. Robert Stock, Brandon Creath, and Logan Billbrough shut them out the rest of the evening. Creath picked up his first win of the season.

Nick Martini and David Medina led the offense with three hits each. Two of Medina's hits were doubles and he had two RBIs. The highlight of the evening came when Anthony Garcia hit a three-run double in the top of the ninth. Earlier in the game, he had replaced Roberto De La Cruz, who suffered a leg injury.

Tuesday, April 10, QC 7 at Peoria 1

Kyle Hald gave up one unearned run in the first, his only inning on the evening. The left-hander was removed after being struck by a ball, but checked out ok. Willy Paulino earned the win with 3.0 innings, Danny Miranda earned a hold in his 3.0 innings, and submariner Heath Wyatt closed the last 2.0 innings. Luis Mateo went 3-for-4, continuing to hit the ball hard, to lead a balanced offensive effort.

Wednesday, April 11, QC 3 at Peoria 5

A fast start wasn't enough to earn a series sweep as the Bandits scored three runs in the first but allowed five runs in later innings. Dail Villanueva yielded four earned runs and one more unearned in 3.1 innings. Ethan Cole relieved him and Billbrough made his final appearance as a Bandit before his promotion. It seems that Billbrough was misplaced from the beginning as he dominated MWL opponents in every inning he pitched.

As expected in a loss, the bats were quiet. Nick Martini rapped out two hits; five others added a hit each. Medina collected three RBI on a bases-loaded double in the first but it wasn't enough to keep up with the future Cubs.

Williams had two doubles Thursday
Thursday, April 12, QC 6 at Cedar Rapids 4

The bus shifted from Southeast to Northwest as this week of commuter trips continued in Cedar Rapids. The rotation slot of opening night starter Tyrell Jenkins was skipped due to some bicep soreness. Hector Hernandez toed the rubber instead and had six solid innings of work to open this series. Hernandez did give up three unearned runs in the fourth inning but only allowed two hits, one walk, and struck out three. Creath logged his second win of the season and road trip while Wyatt earned his first save of 2012.

Roberto Reyes had three singles and three RBI to lead the scoring efforts. Matt Williams stroked two doubles but didn't produce any runs. Colin Walsh capped off the ninth inning with a solo homer.

Friday, April 13, QC 6 at Cedar Rapids 5

Todd McInnis took the start on Friday with 7.0 very strong innings. He had five K's and only allowed three runs. Robert Stock pitched one solid inning but then gave up two runs before being pulled after one out in the ninth inning. Danny Miranda closed and held the Kernels scoreless.

The Bandits had 14 hits in the Friday game. Castillo had four (two home runs), Walsh three, and Garrett Wittels had two. David Medina added a home run in the top of the sixth. The Bandits had established a pattern of scoring early and late in each game but this time, they scored all the runs in the middle innings.

Saturday, April 14, QC 0 at Cedar Rapids 5

Saturday the 14th turned out to be the unlucky day as the Bandits suffered their first shutout of the season. Kyle Hald allowed two earned runs on four hits in 5.0 innings. Kevin Jacob gave up the other three earned runs in just 1.2 innings.

It was a wet day in Cedar Rapids with storms threatening all afternoon and the team just never got their bats warmed up. Walsh had two doubles and the other eight members of the team combined for only four more hits. It seems like it was "just one of those days" as the club was denied another opportunity for a series sweep.

Sunday, April 15, QC 11 at Cedar Rapids 1

The team finished in Cedar Rapids with a vengeance to close the series and a long week of long commutes. Gaviglio was strong for six innings, allowing just one run in the first inning and only four hits overall. Ethan Cole and Heath Wyatt kept the Kernels' bats quiet in the final three innings.

In a complete reversal of Sunday's game, the Bandits came to hit on Sunday. Three players had three hits each, two had two hits each, and three more each added a hit. Walsh hit his third home run and added five RBI in the winning effort. I don't expect the switch-hitter to stay in Davenport very long.

Without spending a night in a hotel this week, the team traveled over 1200 miles in seven trips. The Bandits have four opponents that are within 100 miles and are therefore commuter series. They drive more miles than any other team in the league.

After a three-night homestand against Clinton, they will leave on the road trip that will take them farther from the Quad Cities than any other trip this summer as they face Dayton and Bowling Green. For those two teams, there are no commuter opponents. (The league rule says that if the drive from stadium to stadium is 100 miles or less, the teams commute. Davenport to Peoria is 99 ½ miles.)

Every week this year I'll be closing my column with an invitation to contact me on the forum at sport61201 with any questions or suggestions that you have for this weekly column. I want this to be what you want and I'll do my best to accommodate your requests.

Every week this year I'll be closing my column with an invitation to contact me on the forum at sport61201 with any questions or suggestions that you have for this weekly column. I want this to be what you want and I'll do my best to accommodate your requests.

Thanks for reading!

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